February 22, 2017
The AMA should stand firm against assisted suicide
The AMA’s longtime stance has been, in part:
Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks. Instead of engaging in assisted suicide, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life. Physicians: (a) Should not abandon a patient once it is determined that cure is impossible. (b) Must respect patient autonomy. (c) Must provide good communication and emotional support. (d) Must provide appropriate comfort care and adequate pain control. -AMA Principles of Medical Ethics: I,IV”
Both the national AMA and state medical societies’ opposition to assisted suicide have been instrumental in stopping the spread of these dangerous laws. In fact, when the Vermont and California medical societies took neutral positions, it was a major stumbling block to the efforts in the legislature to block legalization.
Assisting suicide is now legal in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and California, and the practice may have some legal protection in the state of Montana. Additionally, assisted suicide set to take effect shortly in the District of Columbia , absent action by Congress.
It is more important now than ever for the AMA to keep its strong position.
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